Seaport construction delayed due to no roads
By VietNamNet - 16/07/2007
The lack of a sufficient transport system, especially roads linking to ports, has dampened the spirits of many seaport developers.
Seaports await roads
Vietnam seems to focus heavily on building expressways, while it does not pay appropriate attention to building roads for seaport development. Le Cong Minh, Director General of Saigon Port, said that the project on building a new seaport in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Zone in Nha Be district in HCM City had been delayed due to the lack of a road linking to the port.
Five investors, who have been licenced to make investment in the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port project, capitalised at several hundred million dollars, still cannot start the construction as they still await the 10 km-road no 965 linking to Highway No 51.
It is clear that the stretch of four-lane road with the length of 5.5 km will be built with ODA-funded capital sourced from the Japanese Government. However, it remains unclear how the remaining stretch of road with the length of 4 km will be built. Investors cannot bring machineries, equipment and materials to the port construction site if there is no road.
The area along the inter-port foot-path of Phu Huu, Ong Keo in Dong Nai province, which is 20 km long, has been reserved for building a port. However, the area remains deserted, full of mangrove and nipa.
According to Portcoast, a port designing and consultancy service company, foreign investors who have gone there to seek investment opportunities have rejected investing as there is no infrastructure item. Similarly, foreign investors dare not make investment in the port expected to be located in the area from Nhon Trach to Phuoc An.
In early June 2007, during an investigation to learn about the implementation of seaports in the key economic area in the south, the Government’s working team found out that projects on seaports were not being carried out in Dong Nai, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provinces and HCM City. Local enterprises then said that seaports would be built right after the road, electricity, water and telecommunications systems could be installed.
Warning: ports overloaded
The delay of seaport construction will badly affect the national economy. Nguyen Trong Hue, Deputy Head of the Marine Bureau, said that the total goods going through the seaports in the south in 2006 reached 54.4mil tonnes, well exceeding the forecast level of 53mil tonnes for 2010.
The delay in the development of the seaport system in Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Dong Nai has put heavy pressure on the seaports in HCM City. It is estimated that from 2009-2012, the seaports that have been and will be put into operation in some more time will be overloaded due to the rapidly increasing volume of goods.
Tran Minh Sanh, Chairman of the Ba Ria-Vung Tau People’s Committee, also said that the lack of roads was the main reason behind the delay in seaport project implementation. The lack of roads will cause serious traffic jams on the four-lane Highway No 51 in some days.
In some more years, when seaports and tens of industrial zones (My Xuan, Phu My, Go Dau) become operational, Highway No 51 will be overloaded. Therefore, local authorities have proposed the enlargement of the four-lane highway to a six-lane highway.
In HCM City, a representative from Tan Cang Company said that it had completed the relocation of Tan Cang port from Binh Thanh district in inner HCM city to the suburban district of Nha Be two years ahead of schedule. The capacity of the port has been raised to 24-25mil tonnes of goods, the biggest in the country.
However, the inter-provincial two-lane road No 25 has become too narrow and degraded at having to receive several thousand trucks every day. In several more years, when the ports in the inner city are also relocated to Nha Be district, road No 25 will become more busy and overloaded. Therefore, it is an urgent task to upgrade and expand the road.
According to Pham Anh Tuan, Project Director of Portcoast, it is necessary to answer the question: Should Vietnam prioritise the building of expressways or building roads and infrastructure items for seaport development?
“In fact, it costs less to build roads for ports than build expressways,” he said.
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